KL rally roadblocks cause traffic chaos

Andrew Ong
Nov 10, 07 12:48pm
     

KL appeared to be under siege today with thousands of police stationed in key parts of the city in the bid to stop a rally calling for election reforms at 3pm.


At 11am, more than 10 police trucks could be seen stationed in front of the iconic Sultan Abdul Samad building opposite Dataran Merdeka – the rally venue. Rela personnel were also spotted milling around the area.
The police sealed off all entrances to the square, but are allowing only tourists to visit the area.
Police checkpoints were dotted along nearly every alley near the square while police from the General Operations Force (GOF), Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) and other uniformed officers are manning several positions around the area.
Organisers have designated four meeting points – Sogo shopping complex, Masjid Jamek LRT, Pasar Seni and the National Mosque – for participants to converge before proceeding to Dataran Merdeka.
However, a check by Malaysiakini this morning revealed that numerous police trucks were already in position at all four locations.

Traffic within the city is however relatively smooth. Apparently most commuters are caught in traffic jams on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. It was business as usual for most traders and business premises near Dataran Merdeka.
Major highways clogged
There are also roadblocks along major highways leading to the city.
Several eyewitnesses also told Malaysiakini that traffic along the Federal Highway, south of Kuala Lumpur, had been brought to a snarl due to at least four police checkpoints.
Each roadblock reduced the traffic to only one lane. It is believed that the police are turning back buses and vans with suspected rally participants.
A similar checkpoint was mounted along the Sprint Highway heading to the city from the west near Section 17.
Meanwhile, along the North-South Highway, a Malaysiakini reader reported a three to four kilometres jam at the Sungai Besi toll booth, southeast of the city.
The reader said he saw several cars being forced by the police to turn back away from Kuala Lumpur.
Several eyewitnesses also reported unusual police checkpoints as far south as the entrance to the North-South Highway in Senai, Johor and in Sungai Buloh, north of Kuala Lumpur.
The Sungai Buloh to Jalan Duta stretch of the North-South Highway heading towards Kuala Limpur has been completely closed, with traffic being diverted to Kota Damansara and Damansara toll exits.
Roadblocks are also reported along Karak Highway to stop rally participants entering the city from the east.
Police chief Musa Hassan yesterday said that about 4,000 policemen would be deployed to disperse the crowd and roadblocks would be set up around the venue.
“Members of the public found in the area to attend the gathering are committing an offence and legal action will be taken against them,” he warned.
The police have refused to provide a permit for the rally, making the event illegal.